The White House on Friday announced plans to appoint out Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181) and transgender Middle Tennessee State University Professor Marisa Richmond to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.
In their respective roles as the Commission’s chair and one of its 20 members, Kenyatta and Richmond will join the record breaking number of LGBTQ appointees serving in the Biden-Harris administration.
The White House also noted the pro-LGBTQ advocacy work of another appointee picked to serve on the Commission, National Education Association (NEA) President Becky Pringle.
The Commission’s work will include advising President Joe Biden through U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on matters “pertaining to educational equity and economic opportunity for the Black community.”
“The expertise represented on this commission will be an invaluable resource to our Department and to the President as we work to Raise the Bar in education and ensure that all Black children have access to an academically rigorous education, safe and healthy learning environments, supportive school communities, and multiple pathways to college and career,” Cardona said in a statement Friday.
Kenyatta became the first openly LGBTQ person of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly with his election in 2018. And he made history again last year as America’s first LGBTQ person of color to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
“I’m humbled by your faith in me,” Kenyatta wrote in a tweet thanking the President for appointing him chair of the Commission.
HONORED! Thank you @potus for appointing me Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Education Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. I’m humbled by your faith in me. pic.twitter.com/uA0BABjP05
— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@malcolmkenyatta) April 21, 2023
Along with her roles with the Commission and at the University, Richmond serves as president of the Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women, co-chair of the Transgender Advisory Committee of the Democratic National Committee, and the first transgender member of the Metro Human Relations Commission.
When leading the NEA, America’s largest labor union and professional employee organization, Pringle proclaimed in a speech last year: “We will say gay. We will say trans. We will use the words that validate our students and their families; words that encourage them to walk in their authenticity; to love themselves fully to become who they are meant to be!”
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